October 26

Fictober, Prompt 26 – “I’m sure this has never worked, ever.”

Original fiction, sci-fantasy/technomagic. Continuation: part one (Day 1), part two (Day 5), part three (Day 7), part four (Day 15), and part five (Day 22). This the sixth and final part of this story.

Warnings: monster/eldritch horror, technically suicidal ideation (characters prepared to sacrifice themselves).

Vivi and I stared at the console screen, torn between horror at what Lin’s original plan for the world-eater had been and the first kernels of hope that we might still have a chance after all.

Lin seemed to have believed that a newly hatched world-eater could be ledif you could control its nearest source of food, namely, the planetary shell that it had hatched out of.

“So, she was going to guide the remnants of the planet, via magic, to get it near enough to the Phean system worlds that it would naturally devour them next, thus enacting her revenge for…something,” Vivi summarized, voice flat.

The further writings we had found deep in Lin’s encrypted files had finally shed light on her goals, though even here she did not seem to list the specific wrongs for which she had wanted revenge.

Regardless of what they were, I could not imagine any crime for which the destruction of an entire planet would be the appropriate punishment.

We had put a stop to that much of her plan, at least. But that would only mean that some other random worlds would be devoured instead, unless we could find a way to use this to our advantage and somehow do what no one (to our or Lin’s knowledge) had ever done before: destroy a world-eater.

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October 22

Fictober, Prompt 22 – “No promises.”

Original fiction, sci-fantasy/technomagic. Continuation: part one (Day 1), part two (Day 5), part three (Day 7), and part four (Day 15). One more part to come after this one.

Warnings: implied monster/eldritch horror, air strike (but no people hurt).

World-eaters were supposed to be a myth.

We sent out what data we had anyway, in what we hoped was a secure beam to the nearest relay point. It would take a day or so at best to reach sector law enforcement and the trade fleet association. They would probably laugh themselves sick over it, but Vivi had agreed with me that we had to try.

While I was doing that, Vivi returned to an earlier task that we hadn’t yet succeeded at: cracking the encryption on Lin’s hidden files. It was a devilish combination of coding and magic that I was pretty sure was beyond me. “No promises,” she had muttered when she started, but Vivi was better at tricky, mixed hacking jobs – her mind worked through such problems from a different angle than mine did.

The regular seismic rumbles from…below…were getting stronger, and more frequent. Whatever we or anyone else were going to try, we had to do it soon.

I dug further into the unencrypted files, and found enough obliquely phrased information to round out what little about the world-eater myths I could remember.

World-eaters were alive, although the implication had always been that they did not fit into any of the standard categories of life that we used: animal, plant, fungus, or various microbial lifeforms. They were something else, and as such were not subject to the same restraints of life as we knew it.

They moved through space on their own, the legends said, and they ate—

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October 15

Fictober, Prompt 15 – “I like that in you.”

Original fiction, sci-fantasy/technomagic. Continuation: part one (Day 1), part two (Day 5), and part three (Day 7).

Warnings: none for this part.

I frowned at the spell on the screen in front of me, erased part of it, and rewrote it on the integration pad in front of me, the new sigils appearing on the screen. That…might work.

Laying my hand flat on the pad, I sent a pulse of energy into it to trigger the spell, then held my breath.


And then the screen lit up in a blaze of data.

“Yes!” I yelled, jumping out of my chair. “Finally!”

The layers and layers of monitoring spells on this planet had been nearly mind-numbing to wade through, but they had gone down to a certain point beneath the planet’s surface and then there had just been nothing. Vivi had given up two days ago, going to work on something else instead for awhile, but I had been sure there were actually more spells deeper down, and that I just needed to write the correct kind of connector spell to get them hooked into the station’s systems again.

And I had been right.

Data streamed in, too much to take in all at once, but one of the flagging spells I had set up previously started to pull pieces out for me. The composition shifted around a little bit but didn’t significantly change: silicates, iron oxides, that continuing series of weird calcium deposits, some carbon-heavy layers. None of it especially surprising in a planetary crust, but something about how it was arranged still pinged wrongly in the back of my mind.

Abruptly, the data stream stopped.

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